Do the names Wade Townsend, Beau Hale, Rick Elder, Mike Paradis, and Jayson Werth ring a bell? If you really follow the Orioles, they should. These five players were all among the first Oriole picks in the amateur draft over the last ten years. More familiar names like Chris Smith, Adam Loewen, and 2003 first rounder Nick Markakis also join that list.
This year’s edition of the Shorebirds was slated to have two number one picks on the infield – alas, 2006 top pick Billy Rowell is injured and not on the Shorebirds’ opening roster. But my initial pick for Shorebird of the Week Brandon Snyder is healthy enough to play and is slated to man first base this season.
After a great rookie campaign in 2005, Brandon hit a serious speed bump in 2006. He only batted .213 across two levels (Delmarva and Aberdeen) and a shoulder injury compacted his season to just 72 games played. Because of this injury, first base is now Brandon’s home.
Because of the injury and learning a new position, the 2007 campaign will go a long way to determining whether Snyder will be a member of the first group of five first-round busts I opened this post with, or a solid big leaguer like Nick Markakis is becoming.